Feed Plan - Issues?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by bubba1358, Sep 25, 2014.

  1. bubba1358

    bubba1358 Out Of The Brooder

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    For multiple reasons, i cannot do commercial pelleted feed. It has to do with the desire to remain GMO free, as well as an intolerance to soy (which as we all know passes through into the meat and eggs).

    I've developed a tentative feed plan, and I was hoping that y'all could help see if there are any deficiencies in it. What I'm doing is feeding a fermented mix of equal-weight wheat, oats, barley, B.O.S.S., and field peas. These balance to a protein ration of 16.1%. I also add .5 pound flax seeds to the mix. I feed the mix at 8 total pounds (7.5 fermented, .5 flax) to 23 egg layers, mixed breeds, plus 7 pullets and a rooster. I also feed a free choice poultry pellet, certified as non-GMO and labelled at 16%. They go through 10 pounds in about a week.

    I've battled with egg eating, and our egg count is still quite low (8-12 a day out of 23 layers), which makes me wonder if it's the feed, or if the egg eating is persisting. I welcome ideas and criticisms on this setup.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2014
  2. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    There could be a number of things in play here, the lack of energy, vitamin and mineral are all playing against you.
    When I look at your grain mix I see a fancy scratch mix with no real order, your energy looks to be off and the fiber is way high.

    Where are the numbers I ran, and what I got.

    Wheat Grain -- 13% protein
    Oats ------------- 13% protein
    Barley ----------- 12% protein
    Peas ------------- 24% protein
    BOSS ----------- 16% protein
    Total protein is around 15.6% +/- protein

    If it was me and since your using a GMO free feed already, I would just cut out the grain mix and just feed the GMO free feed and see if the egg production go up and egg eating stops. If it does than you know that your mix was the problem.

    If you want to continue to feed your mix, feed it at 10% of there total feed intake and feed a GMO free feed that is at least 18% protein.
     
  3. bubba1358

    bubba1358 Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm very hesitant to switch to the GMO-free pellets as the main source of food, since they are a limited supply at the feed store and I don't know if I can get them long-term. The other items are a constant. I forgot to mention that I do also feed about 6 oz. dried kelp granules for mineral supplementation, and keep free-choice general minerals, salt, and oyster shell available.

    Is there a better way to formulate the mix? Bear in mind that it is a fermented mix, and sits in a lacto-fermenting liquid for 4 days before feeding. Any substitutions, replacement, or different ratios? What IS missing from the mix? A general "minerals and vitamins" is great, but without knowing which ones are lacking, it's hard to move forward. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2014
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Chris has given some good advice.
    My feeling is that there are some essential amino acids that may be deficient.
    Most people look at total protein percentage in the food. That's fine if one is using a prepared chicken feed because the feed companies have already formulated a balance of essential amino acids. However, if they're mixing their own feed and don't consider all the amino acids, total protein doesn't really matter.
    Humans have 9 amino acids that we must consume because we can't assimilate them from others. Chickens have 14.
    Think of a water barrel made of wooden staves with each stave being one of those amino acids. Any stave representing an amino acid that is deficient will be shorter and that will be all the water the barrel can hold. If you have one deficiency, probably lysine, it will affect growth, egg production and cause egg and feather eating.
    I understand the desire to avoid GMO, as do I so I feed an organic grower. But not at the expense of overall flock health.

    One possibility is to add a source of animal protein which usually has all the amino acids.
     
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    That won't boost deficient amino acids.
    Most chicken feeds are vegetable based. They must add amino supplements like lysine, methionine, trace elements, vitamins and minerals.

    If you read the list of ingredients on chicken feed, the primary ingredients are grains and legumes. But the ingredients also include a laundry list of vitamins, minerals, fats, trace elements and amino acids that make it a complete feed. If you're trying to make a complete feed from a list of seeds, it's not really going to happen unless you really know what is in your additions like kelp.
    Also, kelp is expensive, around here anyway.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2014
  6. bubba1358

    bubba1358 Out Of The Brooder

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    Huh. I think you may be on to something there. Do you (or anyone) know which ones may be lacking in this formula?

    I do have a milk cow, but she's dry at the moment. If I add milk to the mix, would that make up the amino acid deficiency? How much milk would I need per bird to meet their needs?

    FWIW, I was on an organic feed with them for a while. It was very expensive, and egg production wasn't really any better. :/

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2014
  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    My first guess would be lysine and yes milk may help but I haven't done the research. You may need to hit the books if you're dead set on avoiding prepared feed.
    My caution is that you won't be able to provide a complete feed for less than the cost of a bag of feed. You're buying ingredients in 50 # bags.
    The feed companies are buying seeds by the trainload and additives by the ton. The economy of scale works against you.
    Most things like winter peas and some grains are more expensive for me than a bag of organic feed.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2014
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Chicken Canoe: I love your barrel/amino acid analogy.
     
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Last edited: Sep 25, 2014
  10. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Again, excellent. There's an excellent chart in one of my vegetarian cook books showing the amino acid profile laid out in a star pattern with each amino acid being one point of the star. It shows how you can mix various sources of protein so one source provides what is missing from the other source. ie; corn with beans, beans with grains, milk with corn, beans or grains...
     

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